Norwegian Rya – Rya Study Group


The Rya Study Group was an international group of interested weavers, textile scholars, and enthusiasts focused on different aspects of this ancient pile coverlet technique. An exhibit of woven works was mounted at the 2009 Norwegian Textile Conference in Decorah. RSG member’s projects and research was compiled into a booklet for research and Museum use by Betty Johannesen. Members explored any aspect of rya that interested them, from a cultural, practical, artistic, or historic perspective. Our goal was to to advance the study of the rya technique by investigating and sharing information. We hoped to generate new information, offer tools for research, and to support and encourage individual examination of rya. Group members included experienced advisors, rya enthusiasts, weavers, scholars, interested parties. Active between 2006-2009, the Rya Study Group was a sub-group of the Norwegian Textile Club (ne: Guild), and affiliated with the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

Ellen Kjellmo, RSG advisor, found the old rya above (pictured: close ups of the pile and smooth sides) at a coastal event in Bodø. The rya came from Bøstad in Lofoten, woven appox. 1900. Warp and the weft were handspun.

RSG Advisors

Marta Juuhl

Ellen Kjellmo

Betty Johannesen

Kay Larson



Rya Study Group – samples of work



Betty Johannesen, Voss Rya, goose-eye twill background with dynamic pile design



Corywn Knutson, decorative rya



Marion Marzlof, Fire In the Night, wall hanging